Meet Ofra Haza.
Her 1988 release, "Shaday," is an ideal introduction to Haza's music for westerners. The Eurovision runner-up is in perfect voice here, and the elements of Yemenite traditional hymnody and late 20th century dance-floor romance play well together.
It's not the arrangements that create the graceful, seamless dance between the sacred and those earthier elements of attraction. The linn drums and synth show their age only too well. It's that voice. Whether Haza is begging you to be gentle with her heart in "Galbi" or pulling from some deep part of her muse in her soaring rendition of Rabbi Shalom Shabazi's meditation on the gates of heaven, her clear, beautiful vocals cut through the studio clutter.
But do listen. You'll be glad you did.
As a lagniappe, here's an earlier, more traditional version of Im Nin'Alu. Enjoy.
Videos and music are owned by the artists and publishers. This review is copyright 2016 by Jas Faulker/ Zen Dixie